Is my branch church welcoming the Prodigal Home?
People are looking for a community that will support them in their journey.
Some people are leaving and going to other denominations because they not finding support when facing a personal challenge.
Suzanne Riedel – Clerk of The Mother Church
(Annual Meeting of The Mother Church, 2016)
I saw the film below with some of my students and was moved to the core. I even clapped out loud.
I latter learned that the limbless man (Nick Vujicic) attempted suicide in real life due to rejection by his mother at the age of 10. But he went on to become a motivational speaker traveling to over 40 countries and inspiring others.
Thus I made it into a presentation for my classes with a short reading of the content and vocabulary before viewing the film followed by questions to the class.
Perhaps it is an analogy of Jesus seeing the “perfect man” regardless of somebody’s so-called backstory. After all, Mary Magdalene went on to become one of the most devote followers of Christ Jesus. Interesting that she was also the first at the tomb to see Jesus after the stone was rolled away and the first to tell the others that he had risen.
I was cautioned for poking fun at the so-called “good Sunday school students” (their words & my mother’s words) who felt they didn’t need this message or have to learn their lessons through trials and tribulations. My response to you is “ok”. Then you already have it. But some of us couldn’t learn these lessons in our Father’s house. Perhaps the ones that were suppose to hear these messages did and they will kick in when they need too.
This is for the lost sheep or to welcome home the Prodigal Son or for the young man who was turned away from his own branch church on a cold, dark night without even a crib for a bed. Perhaps the man needed shelter because he took care of another student of CS all summer and literary held his hand as he passed away while his home fell into foreclosure. Perhaps he left a lucrative job because “honesty levels wealth” (Mary Baker Eddy).
But he found his way through prayer with divine Love as his shepherd and went on to help others after literally living at his branch church for one week before the pampered hypocrite turned him in and he was left only a voice mail to leave.
Interesting that it was after the reader on a Wednesday night asked: “Who would we be if we turned the stranger away?”
Special thanks to the angel entertained unaware who let me in the back door to sleep at night and use the slop sink to wash. He shared a similar story of being in desperate need and another angel took him to the salvation army for shelter. He understood because he had been there too. Thank you from the deepest part of me. You also stated this act of kindness should be what church is all about but it’s not after seeing how they treated me when I had nothing to the human sense.
After all, Mrs. Eddy was in frequent need of a home and ridiculed for her beliefs before she became one of the greatest benefactors of all time.
Perhaps this supports the concerns shared above at the 2016 Annual Meeting of The Mother Church as to why our branch churches are closing. Perhaps the spirit got lost in the letter along the way as Mrs. Eddy forewarned.
Jesus “church” happened on a mountainside, a marketplace, or in someone’s home. “When people talk of church today, it’s often in reference to a physical structure,” writes Ethel Baker in this Sentinel’s cover story. “But to Jesus,” she adds, “church hinged on one thing: the ever-present Christ, the truth and spirit of God and His creation” (From the January 17, 2011 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel).
This branch church, built for 800, is now down to 8 on a Wednesday night. Or is it 6 now that one member passed on and I moved away? It is beautiful with stained class and columns and a big dome above the seating area. I never felt closer to God then when I walked under it late at night in my underwear. I just felt unconditional love like I never have felt before.
Finally, one member whose branch church closed summed it all up at the 2014 Midwest Church alive: Our branch church closed because we focused on us and not our community.
I write this not to attack, blame or accuse but to expose the ignorance and error under the light of wisdom and Love in order to bring about change. I say this at the deepest level of humility for the cause of a better movement and as an ambassador not as an activist.
One student of Christian Science whom I shared this with replied:
I can’t say more as I wasn’t there, feeling what you have felt. But it feels raw and honest and at the same time very much supported by Christian Science thought and brings out the positive light of your own understanding, growth, gratitude, and healing as well.
And another student of Christian Science stated: They deserted Jesus too.
Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to ALL Mankind.
Video – At the height of the Great Depression, the showman of a renowned circus discovers a man without limbs being exploited at a carnival sideshow, but after an intriguing encounter with the showman he becomes driven to hope against everything he has ever believed.
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28th Dec 2016
by Virginia Harris, CSB
“Today is waiting, what is it going to be? Basic or brilliant?”
This was my hotel wakeup call on a recent trip. It got me up, for sure, and got me thinking! Who decides to be “just basic” in any given day? And yet, if there is no conscious decision to be productive or even hopeful in a day, it can be easy to slip into “basic” mode – just to get through the day. Better, I think, to decide to be brilliant!
So what does it take to be brilliant – to shine through a day?
Often the day gets going when you start scrolling through the list of “Things I Have To Do Today,” followed closely by “What is going to happen to me today?” – and a temptation to get anxious.
How about another approach: consider for a moment “What can I give today?” Because from the reservoir of your divine nature – who you really are – there springs a steady and ready flow of spiritual goodness bubbling to be shared!
Here may be a better list to start your day, a simple meditation or prayer as your first thoughts, coming from an unlimited supply of your inherent spiritual qualities:
- I can give kindness today…
- I can give care
- I can give respect
- I can give thanks
- I can give a smile
- I can give hope and comfort
- I can give generously and unconditionally
- I can be BRILLIANT!
The List of Things To Do is a pretty basic list that is likely to drain your energy before you even get started with your day. But the List of Giving is a kind of prayer that aligns your motive to live and act unselfishly and inseparably from the divine Love that guides you. It’s a recognition and affirmation of the spiritual love of Love that is in your consciousness and compels you to give to your neighbor.
Here’s a bonus: with giving as your priority, the checklist of things that must be done today will be done and fulfilled…brilliantly!
Beginning your day with a selfless prayer will restore your spiritual energy to a brilliant shine, and have you bounding into the day. Come to think of it, this sounds like a great way – a brilliant way – to begin a new year.
For further reading on Humility &forgiveness: